As the current NBA season heads towards what promises to be an exciting conclusion, we are starting a new Sports Then and Now series looking at vintage sports videos by remembering one of the most dramatic moments in NBA Playoff history.
Heading into the decisive seventh game of the 1970 NBA Finals, the big question was whether New York Knicks center Willis Reed would be able to play against Wilt Chamberlain and the Los Angeles Lakers.
After averaging 32 points per game in the first four games of the series, Reed suffered a leg injury early in game 5. Fortunately for Knicks fans, Walt Frazier scored 21 points and Cazzie Russell 20 as New York rallied from a fourth quarter deficit to win the pivotal game 107-100.
With Reed out of the lineup in game six, Chamberlain scored 45 points to lead the Lakers to a dominating 135-113 win to force a decisive seventh game.
Entering the final game, there was great question as to whether Reed would be able available to play.
In a famous scene, announcers Chris Schenkel and Jack Twyman are talking about the availability of the 6-foot-11 center when he suddenly emerges through tunnel to roaring applause from the Madison Square Garden squad.
Reed then set the tone for the game by drilling two early baskets to give the Knicks a quick lead. Though he did not score again, Reed’s early presence lit the fire in the Knicks and Frazier took control of the game with 36 points, 19 assists and five steals.
New York went on to win 113-99 to claim their first NBA Championship.
Below is the YouTube video of the game broadcast. Enjoy!